Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hermes Festival des Metiers at the Saatchi Gallery - Part 1

Hermes is holding a special artisan festival at the
Saatchi Gallery in London until the 27th of May.
This event is to showcase the tradition and artisanal skills of each "metier" or craft.  If you are in London or this event is coming to a city near you then I must strongly urge you to go.

I adore porcelain of any type let alone Hermes.
One of the few collections I have is of Hermes porcelain so this section interested me no end and I could have stayed for hours!

This artisan was Christine and she was originally a drafts person for architects and was very adept at drawing which led her to hand painting her niche which is porcelain trays.  
She explained that each color painted on the tray is put 
in the kiln for at least 7 hours.  
She said that each color takes on a unique temperature 
according to the dye.
For those of you familiar with Hermes porcelain, 
Christina is the one who makes all the tiger series!
She says that the platinum used on the trays is so costly that only the top experts are allowed to use it as a small bottle costs about 3000 euros so wastage is not encouraged.
She hand paints that freehand!!
Each tray takes about 10 days to produce.
The different stages of the evolution of a porcelain tray.
This is for those who can't be there so I have taken 
some extra photos to demonstrate.




The ones below were another series that she was working on but for the record the tiger tray is one of the most sought after and the one that requires the most expertise.

The artisan below is the tie maker.  She is involved in the cutting of the blocks needed as seen to her left.
She shows how to make the tie from start to finish.

Below was the engraver. 
Now this is a very niche part of the silk production.  
The artisan must reinterpret a drawing to be transferred to templates for the printing press.
This illustration was of a recent design called Wakoni.
Depending on the number of colors that a picture requires, the engraver must make a separate template for each color.
This illustration involves 47 colors which means it requires 
47 separate sheets.
Overlapping templates to make a whole.
The drawing below was a very complicated process even 
for an experienced engraver.

This was a special electronic pen to draw on the plastic sheets.

The leather artisan was making a Kelly bag in Rose Jaipur. 
I adore this color but it doesn't translate well in photos.
She is buffing the edges of the handle.
Just for those who might be one of those continuity spotters, 
I went to the exhibition twice as there was too much to see.
That is why she is wearing her amazing collier de chien bracelet and a light blue shirt one day and then the next day she wasn't...
Hand stitching the edges of the handle.


These are all the tools needed for leather work.
Some examples of the bags they made on site!
People were offering to buy them there and then. But they were solely for exhibition purposes...
A Jypsiere bag in its separate components ready to be stitched.
Protecting the hardware while working around the leather.
All the thread is matched exactly to the leather.

They even made watches on the spot!
The watchmaker based in Switzerland has all her pieces laid out in order in front of her.  She had a lovely watch herself.
Some of the pieces were so miniscule that she had to use magnetic screws to hold it in place.

Some of the watches she was making on site and some she had just finished producing!
I will be posting Part 2 tomorrow which will show Hermes silk and jewellry expertise.  I hope you join me again tomorrow.

36 comments:

  1. amazing !!!!!!! I'll go back on saturday for sure !

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    1. Yes do go back on Saturday but avoid lunchtime because the artisans also go on lunch!

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  2. Thanks so much for this CSW! I would have loved to go but I didn't/don't have the time. Not in London for the weekend.

    It's good that Hermes is doing this to show the public how the products are made. It justifies the steep price. Very good way to introduce the craft to people who are just starting to get to know the brand.

    I'm surprised photos were allowed! At the last leather exhibit they had, I was told off by a security guard.

    Thank you, I feel like I also went there xxx

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    1. Yes I have been to a few past exhibitions where absolutely no photography was allowed so I was clicking away like mad. But this was a special one as they had a few artisans they don't normally showcase. I do think that pound for pound Hermes is ok. They keep alive certain practices that would be dead otherwise. Hermes keeps Lyon alive! So much work goes into each product that I dare say I do agree about the price justification! Have a lovely weekend xx

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  3. Thank you so much for taking me with you on this tour I enjoyed it very much!
    xo

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    1. Thanks for coming Kelly - next is silk screening, twinsets, and a diamond collier de chien!xx

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  4. Fabulous tour- love all the detail on how it was all made. Wish I could go to the exhibit...! xx

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    1. Thanks Heidi - if it comes to Australia you should go and see it because it really shows how painstaking everything was! Next is silk scarves :) xx

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  5. Yes, I definitely would have been there if I lived in London, this is my kind of thing. I'm always fascinated by the creative and technical processes used by artisans.

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    1. I am also fascinated by it - they were all impressive but the porcelain artisan was just drawing horses and handing them out to children and the looks on their faces was priceless!

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  6. Oh this is absolutely fascinating... I would have LOVED seeing this! It is always a joy to see hand-making at it's finest... all very well photographed and documented.. xxx

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    1. Jenny - do see if there is one near you right now - I think in France they do a little version of it roaming around. I would have like some samples but they were keeping all of them! xx

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  7. thanks for the post. Your blog is a wonderful insight into London and its cultural life.
    I am really happy to follow your blog.
    laura

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    1. Thanks Laura for coming by - I am always happy for you to visit! x

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  8. I love Hermès and this exhibition seems really nice!
    Kisses

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    1. I love Hermes more now after this exhibition! x

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  9. I visited the Saatchi Gallery when I was in London earlier this year. What a pity this wasn't on then as I would have loved it. It's always fascinating to watch craftspeople at work and to see the actual components and process involved with the making of an Hermès bag would have kept me in there all day! So pleased you took so many photos to show us. Looking forward to part 2!

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    1. I think you would have loved it - just keep an eye out for the moving festival. I went there twice as it was so interesting and I had other appointments but I might even go a third time!! Will share the other ones soon!

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  10. I really, really, really want to go to this!
    I'd also love to see your Hermès collection!

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    1. Look out for it or you could come to London for the weekend - its a bank holiday weekend so as you would expect it is FREEEEEZING! OMG it has dipped again. Yes I might show you but I was afraid it might be so dull but I might do a dinner party and lay it out for you!

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    2. Do it! I'll do a post on potato grading, too!

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    3. Ha - Ok will put in on my draft list!

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  11. Oh wow I'd love to go to this and am seriously considering it. I may have a look on the Trainline and see if I can get a cheap ticket over the bank holiday weekend.

    You can imagine how excited I would be to see the intricacy of making a Hermes bag so close up, I've only had the privilege to see a couple of finished products in the flesh.

    I've watched how silk ties are made at a workshop near here and I was intrigued by that and I'm not even that interested in silk ties.

    Sounds like you had a fab day!

    Have a great weekend hun xx

    p.s. just saw your answer to Ruth above - yes yes do it!!

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    1. It's going to have to be more of your piccies please, because I won't make it unfortunately. I'd love to see what you captured with the scarves xx

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  12. Sounds and l o o k s really interesting.
    Used to have 2 small ash trays ( equestrian ), but gave them away as a gift. They were lovely.
    Remember, I´m into functional stuff. Who smokes inside these days, so the decision to part with them was not so difficult.

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    1. I actually collect them but I also use them for keys and coins so I make them function and work them very hard Mette!!

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  13. These are gorgeous. What fun to see the process of creating such beauty. Did they let you take a sample-like one of those to die for bags by any chance? ;)
    Happy weekend!
    xx, Heather

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    1. Tell me about it - I asked them for a nice souvenir but they were having none of it Heather! x

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  14. wow that looks so interesting! I would love to participate !

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    1. I know! I wanted to start drawing on the porcelain as well...

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  15. wow...thanks for sharing. some of us would never be able to own let alone go so close to any of those... but lovely to see them... ciao xx

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    1. Thank you M for coming by. Yes I know that not everyone lives in an urban area or the exhibition might not come near them so I tried to post a lot of pictures! I am still learning to see from another perspective of "reporting" so thanks for bearing with me! xx

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  16. I love reading your blogs, i feel like i am actually there just by reading your lines....

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  17. I can't believe how much skill it goes into making such an item. And time!! I mean 10 days for one tray... I don't have the patience, I'd kill myself.:D

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Thank you for dropping by!